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Veterans Day at PLU

November 17, 2008

Veterans Day offers a time for reflection, thanks

As the PLU brass played the unforgettable anthems of each branch of the United States Armed Services, the soldiers, sailors and airmen in the audience, stood up to applause. That was the crescendo of the PLU Veterans Day Celebration last week in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center Lagerquist Concert Hall. The veterans were recognized for their sacrifices and the audience was asked to reflect with pride on the brave men and women who choose to serve this country.“The service to our nation is part of our rich history,” said Col. Scott E. Leith, keynote speaker. “It is always a great privilege to be in the presence of our veterans.”

Master of Ceremonies Lt. Col. John Kaniss, retired, who is also the PLU construction manager, introduced Leith.

The men and women of the armed services are forever linked together, no matter what military branch, by the common desire to serve, he said.

“It’s all one team,” Leith said.

It is the past that builds upon the strengths of military service, he said. The veterans of previous campaigns are with the new generation of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They are our examples,” Leith said. “It is amazing what our nation produces.”

This Veterans Day is even more significant because it is the seventh in a row that the United States has been at war.

The best way to honor veterans is to live a life as a good American, Leith said. That means go vote, volunteer, be a mentor, be a good citizen and celebrate the rights those that defend this country fight for.

“This is the thanks America can give,” he said.

Origin of Veterans Day

Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. It was enacted by President Woodrow Wilson on Nov. 11, 1919. The day was in recognition of those who fought in World War I.

It marked the signing of the Armistice agreement by Germany that ended WWI on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.

In 1954, after World War II and the Korean Conflict, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the Nov. 11 designation to include all veterans that have served their country. And from then on it has been known as Veterans Day, a day to honor those that serve during war and while at peace.